“If it were optional, hardly anyone would pay it”

That is the reported opinion of a Judge sitting in the Court of Appeal, who upheld the conviction of Veronica Connolly for refusing to pay the TV licence fee.

It is refreshing to have a Judge articulate so clearly why the British public is compelled to pay this tax.

What is clear is that the notion of choice is anathema to the establishment. They must have their channel to the people, funded by the people, but which remains resolutely unaccountable to the people. And of course the people shouting loudest in support of the BBC are those who suckle at its many teats at our enforced expense.

It is a contempt of the people that we are forced to fund the self interest, bias, activism and narrow left wing worldview of this pampered establishment poodle. And Lady Justice Hallett has now confirmed as part of a legal judgement that given the choice we would reject this raw outlet of big state propaganda.

All the more reason then to challenge the BBC’s monopolistic dominance in UK news and media. Justice Hallett’s words are a call to action.

20 Responses to ““If it were optional, hardly anyone would pay it””

  1. 1 StrongUnitedKingdom 13/10/2011 at 5:03 pm

    Now officially it is a licence not a tax, so many of the officious tax laws would not apply. How’s about a campaign of mass non-payment? Perhaps we could recycle the drugs theme of “Just Say No”.

  2. 2 Junkk Male 13/10/2011 at 5:06 pm

    Ironic that he didn’t actually mean it to come out that way.

    Even though a more perfect articulation of how divorced the politico-media-legislative establishment is from the real world would be hard to get.

    Guessing there may be a re-introduction for them soon as many aspects of current life ‘progresses’.

    I hope ‘they’ can cope.

  3. 3 BrianJay 13/10/2011 at 5:07 pm

    I think that was tried in New Zealand and succeeded.

  4. 5 Steve 13/10/2011 at 5:23 pm

    Come on now folks, you just KNEW I was going to post this :-) :-


  5. 6 Junkk Male 13/10/2011 at 5:25 pm

    13/10/2011 at 5:21 pm

    That letter may need updating; I think it is Chris Patten now.

    Not that it makes whiff of difference.

  6. 7 Nick 13/10/2011 at 9:39 pm

    I live fairly near to a fairly large maximum security prison in Worcestershire. It’s been open since c.1971 and houses some of the most dangerous prisoners contained in the prison system. One of the “perks” given to the inmates is that of a telly in their cells. I intend to find out if these convicts have to pay for a TV licence. My first line will be a FoI request to the Ministry of Justice. As soon as I obtain an answer, I’ll let you know. My suspicion is that prisoners do not have to obtain a TV licence, which puts them in a very favourable position compared, for example, to students living in halls of residence or other shared accommodation.

  7. 8 TSL 13/10/2011 at 11:47 pm

    Thoroughly agree with the article and your many other excellent posts on the Beeb.

    The BBC’s business model is sliding – has slid? – into obsolescence. It’s the possible replacement that needs to be looked at, whenever it appears. The corporation plays a particular role and is far too useful to certain strata of society for it to be allowed to atrophy or to be dissolved. These are the same groups that probably find it awfully amusing to get us to pay for our own “programming”.

    The debate is always “how should the BBC be funded/what form should the Licence Fee take”, and not “should it even exist”. It does its cause no good by misusing the money, in countless ways over many years; no one asked it to spend, say, over £2 billion on pointless vanity building projects, or launch a channel that, after over £800m and nearly 9 years on the air, barely manages to hit the dizzying heights of a whopping 1.4% audience share (BBC3). FFS…

    Contrary to what some sites recommend, the best way to deal with the insidious BBC/TV Licensing/Crapita revenue collection axis is simply to ignore them, as the only way they can “get” you is by whatever you give them first.

    @ StrongUnitedKingdom – the Licence Fee is in fact a tax. It was reclassified as such in 2006 by the ONS:

    ‘Following an examination of the funding of public sector television, the “licence fee”, which is a payment that entitles the holder to receive television signals, has been reclassified in the National Accounts as a tax. Previously, this payment had been classified in the National Accounts as a service charge and represented a significant proportion of the BBC’s sales (85 per cent in 2004/5). Reclassification of these payments as a tax results in the BBC being reclassified from the public non-financial corporations sub-sector to the central government sector, that is, it moves from one part of the public sector to another. However, some BBC subsidiaries will remain classified in the public non-financial corporations sub-sector.’

    National Accounts Classifications, Public Sector Broadcasting, NACC Case 2003/27, 20 January 2006 – there’s a PDF version on the ONS site.



  8. 9 jameshigham 14/10/2011 at 7:34 am

    All this I’d not disagree with, of course. The problem with the Beeb is and it hardly compensates, in a way but they run a wide variety of services, e.g. the shipping forecasts, World Service etc. and their range of radio stations is enviable.

    This is not to say that the UK radio scene would not find other stations to fill the gap and yet the Beeb is so all-encompassing that were it to go, many people would feel that not all the gaps would be filled commercially.

    This is the dilemma – like many, I’m perfectly happy to pay my £50 a year to maintain the range of services but not the amount they do charge now and certainly not to keep fatcats in their job and to spawn this leftist propaganda.

  9. 10 Bill 14/10/2011 at 12:09 pm

    The BBC wouldn’t ‘just go’. It is more than capable of standing on its own two feet without the telly tax to support it.

  10. 11 Avril 14/10/2011 at 1:47 pm

    jameshigham – we do not actually pay a license for radio services. They could hardly charge non-sailing residents who live in Birmingham for the shipping forecast nor any of us for the world service (the clue is in the name).
    And there is the rub – friends living in France and having a satellite dish can watch BBCTV to their hearts’ content without paying the BBC’s licence tax.
    Imagine if you had to pay an annually rising licence tax to listen to BBC radio! They would fine you even if your car was tuned to commercial radio.

  11. 12 john in cheshire 14/10/2011 at 4:57 pm

    For TV, I don’t see why they can’t just move to the Sky model; encrypted reception and if you want it you pay.
    If peripheral services are profitable, someone, if not the bbc, would provide them. There are more weather forecasters, for example, than the Met. Office. In fact, some of these are more accurate, and less politically biased, than the Met Office and I tend to consult them, online, if I’m doing something that relies on the weather.
    For radio, if the bbc wanted to show that they are spending our money sensibly, they would immediately shut down radio6 and the asian network. Or privatise them; otherwise, I want a radio station that is solely for white, christian, English males. Otherwise, subscription without ads. or fully commercial radio, with ads. would serve just as well.

  12. 13 scud 14/10/2011 at 5:53 pm

    Its not just the licence fee where the BBC costs us money. Anyone think that this ‘climate change’ pap would have gained such traction if they hadn’t proved to be so unrelentingly biased over the last 2 decades or more?
    And now the chickens are coming home to roost, with many unable to heat their own homes and the threat of power outages loom….yet the fekkers continue…lying through the backs of their teeth that its all down to ‘wholesale fuel prices’.

    Starve the bastards.

  13. 14 TomTom 16/10/2011 at 11:44 am

    Now officially it is a licence not a tax

    According to the ONS it is a TAX and because it is a TAX it is a Criminal Offence not to pay rather than a Civil Offence.

    Simply junk the TV – going digital was so liberating and haven’t missed it one bit – simply didn’t make the switch

  14. 15 JohnM 17/10/2011 at 8:20 am

    The laugh of it all is that you can watch nearly all the beebs output on iplayer, and not need a licence except for the live programmes !

  15. 16 BrianJay 17/10/2011 at 12:54 pm

    Hang on if it is a tax – do we have to pay it even if we don’t have a television

  16. 17 TSL 18/10/2011 at 12:37 pm


    No, you don’t. :-)

    However, you may have to put up with BBC/TVL/Capita assuming you’re telling porkies, because in their world everyone has a TV so anyone who says otherwise must be lying. The computer-generated letters will continue, you may get doorstepped by a TVL salesperson – sorry, “enforcement officer” ;-). However, you don’t have to talk to them, open the door, or even acknowledge their existence.

    Telling them you don’t have TV works for a certain period of time but the whole process eventually begins again.

    Some sites advocate sending a Notice of Withdrawal of Implied Right of Access (WOIRA) but there is anecdotal evidence that all this does is rocket you to the top of the “awkward pile” and may be used to get a search warrant – TVL’s “No Licence Needed Policy” says they may get a SW if they think you’re watching TV and “it is believed that access to the premises will never be gained”.

    No contact is by far the best policy. Some of the YT videos featuring TVL salespeople are quite amusing but showcase actions on the part of the public that are largely unnecessary.

    You don’t need a TV Licence to own a TV – it is for receiving programmes “as they are being broadcast on TV” (TVL website) on any equipment. No live signals received = no licence required.



  17. 18 Autonomous Mind 18/10/2011 at 8:38 pm

    TSL, it is worth noting that when someone goes into Curry’s or Comet or some such electrical retailer and buys any item with a tuner, be it a TV or a computer, their name and address details are taken at the till. It is not for the store’s use, it is sent to Capita’s TV Licencing department specifically for the purpose of recording you as being able to receive a TV signal.

    So the problem people have is that the authorities know with reasonable certainty that equipment is located at that premises. So even refusing to answer the door can result in a search warrant request.

    Instead of playing hide and seek with these people we should focus on pressuring for the TVL to be scrapped.

  18. 19 TSL 19/10/2011 at 1:34 am

    Hello AM

    I take that point, but in effect all it does is give TVL’s letter generator a name for six months before it reverts back to something like Theo Ccupier. There is no way to tell what the equipment is being used for just by looking at sales records, and the legislation does not require this information to be provided. “This thing has a tuner in it” cannot be used as a completely foolproof way of telling whether the purchaser is watching live broadcasts at an unlicensed property, even though the statute asks for an address where the equipment is to be “installed” (that word has a specific meaning anyway – something like “for the purpose of receiving live broadcasts” or words to that effect).

    IIRC, that part of the Wireless Telegraphy Act is due to be scrapped by the Coagulation. Or, at least, they have proposed that it be scrapped…

    Obviously, the vast majority of purchased equipment is going to be used to receive live broadcasts and the vast majority of purchasers already have (or believe that they “need”) a licence, but there is a significant minority that don’t purchase TVs and so on to do this, and don’t need a licence, yet are chased nonetheless and assumed to be lying.

    A non-answer should not be grounds for a search warrant, TVL’s own guidelines tell them just to stuff a card through the letterbox:

    “If premises appear occupied but no answer is obtained at the time of the visit, a calling card should normally be left, see 4.2 and 4.4 below. The EO must record the address and postcode, time and date of visit and their VPN in the appropriate boxes on the calling card. No other marks or comments should be made on the calling card.” (TVL Visiting Procedures Section 4)

    There are any number of things people may be doing that would lead to a non-answer (aside from ignoring them), so it would prove nothing. Contrary to their bluster they they have to be rather careful with SWs, despite the threats to use them.

    I definitely agree that the tax needs scrapping, yet if it isn’t done correctly what is likely to happen is that the Establishment will drive any such effort towards some kind of consensus that the LF be replaced with something else like-for-like, and Auntie continues on…



  19. 20 Mcleod 21/10/2011 at 8:03 am

    The judge’s statement holds true of course for most forms of taxation, which is why it is not optional.

    People are generally not rational enough to over-ride their selfishness and make adequate contribution on a voluntary basis.

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